HC Deb 02 July 1975 vol 894 cc1468-9
Mr. Cryer

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on the question of the ability of back bench Members to question decisions which have been made in relation to the interview floor of this building, where large amounts of expensive machinery have been installed for what are rumoured to be blacklegging operations in the event of a printing strike. Having examined the Order Paper, I see that the next opportunity to question the Chairman of the Services Committee will be 3.20 p.m. on 7th July. As at least 11 Questions have been tabled already, it clearly will be impossible to question the Lord President about the matter on that occasion. Is there any provision that you can draw to the attention of the Leader of the House, Mr. Speaker, whereby such decisions can be questioned before they are made, so that hon. Members have some power over the control of the facilities which we are supposed to enjoy?

Mr. Madden

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I gather that the six large and expensive machines to which my hon. Friend has referred have been rented by HMSO. That indicates that at some future date, should HMSO be in industrial dispute, the machines could be used for strike-breaking purposes. Further, I am advised that when the machines are in use some 10 rooms on the interview floor will be closed to Members and their constituents. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to arrange for an early statement to be made by the Chairman of the Services Committee so that he can advise the House when this matter was approved and about the inconvenience to which Members and their constituents will be put when the machines are in operation.

Mr. George Cunningham

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether you recall Mr. Speaker, as do many hon. Members the situation that existed last July when, without there being any question of strike breaking, the House was having to use documents which made it completely impossible for us to discharge our functions? Is it not right, without there being any question of strike breaking, that we should adopt such measures as make the inadequate devices that we have to use on such occasions just a little less inadequate than they were last July?

Mr. Speaker

I was not given notice that this matter was to be raised today. I should like to consider the matter. If necessary I shall say something about it tomorrow.